Sunday 29 December 2013

Review: Nowicka and Antoniewicz, 'Works for Violin and Piano'

As a christmas present to myself, I ordered this album at the end of the university term a week or so ago. Having had a few days to listen through and digest it, I can assert that it is a fine album, one which should have a welcome place on any chamber music-enthusiast's shelf.

The works featured are as follows: 

Concertino for Violin and Piano, Op. 42 (i.e. piano reduction from the orchestral part)
Sonatina for Violin and Piano, Op. 46
Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes for Violin and Piano, Op. 47/3

All three are closely related - having been written in the years 1948/9, a period of upheaval in Soviet music, Weinberg included. New clamp-downs were placed by the Soviet Composer's Union, and several of Weinberg's works were black-listed. Despite this, Weinberg continued to write with a focus on chamber music and folk-tinged works, including the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, featured here. 

It is certainly an attractive CD package, featuring many photos of Weinberg, and images taken from the manuscripts of the works themselves. Nowicka provides liner notes, in English translation by Dorothy Holland, which leave a little to be desired, proof-reading errors aside. There are several factual errors, and a large focus on Weinberg's significance for Poland; in addition to this, I would have liked to have seen more details about the recorded works themselves. Not that these notes diminish the quality of the release - the booklet more than makes up for it with several excellent photos of Weinberg from across his career. The album's media patrons are TVP Kultura, Radio Merkury, Twoja Muza magazine and The RecArt label is an entirely independent label.

The playing is excellent throughout, providing interesting contrasts to the existing recorded repertoire. This is the first recording of the concertino with piano accompaniment (to the best of my knowledge), and Antoniewicz takes on the role of accompanist admirably. Indeed, the quality of this performance is grounds to argue for the quality of this work as a recital piece alongside the orchestral platform.

The Sonatina is an intriguing work, having waited more than five years until its first performance. It is closely related to another Weinberg Sonatina, the Op. 49 for piano, as well as the Fourth Sonata for Piano, Op. 56. Nowicka's and Antoniewicz's performance is thoroughly convincing, with an added warmth lacking from other recordings. 

As for recording on the disc, it is generally excellent. The quality tends towards warm and spacious, though the piano is occasionally engulfing, almost stifling for the soloist.

The final work, the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, will be familiar to many - one of Weinberg's most famous works, and a concert favourite of Oistrakh's. For the dance-like flurry that follows the introduction, Nowicka takes a tempo erring on the side of 'safe' - all the playing is solid and sure, but it lacks the excitement present on other recordings. 

Overall, an excellent disc, with many revealing and fresh interpretations. My highlight is the concertino with piano that opens the disc, a fine case for presenting this work in an intimate concert environment. The other works are given solid interpretations, with fresh and warm qualities, perhaps wanting for an edge of excitement but otherwise excellent. 

See the following link to the RecArt label's homepage, with previews for each of the works link.

--------Recommended further listening---------

Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Candida Thompson (Leader and Soloist) [Channel Classics]

- For the Concertino, an excellent recording by the ensemble that gave the European premiere. 

Yuri Klanits, Violin, Michael Csányi-Wills, Piano [Toccata Classics]

- For an exhilarating interpretation of the Moldavian Rhapsody. 

Friday 20 December 2013

And another upcoming release...

Just a quick note, to mention another upcoming release to add to your New Year's list.

Challenge Records have announced that Mr. Linus Roth is continuing his engagement with Weinberg's music with another disc to be released in January, pairing Weinberg's Violin Concerto, Op. 67, with Britten's youthful Violin Concerto, Op. 15. With the Deutsches Symphonie-orchester Berlin and Mikhel Cütson conducting.

To be released in January. Expect good things.

For more info, see the Challenge Records website here.

See my review of Roth's three-disc set of the complete works for Violin and Piano - review link.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

December update

Releases (both available and upcoming)

The last few months have brought a rich variety of Weinberg-related recordings (see my recent review posts). Here are two recordings that have caught my attention recently, both of which I am eagerly awaiting in the post:

The Pacifica Quartet, 'The Soviet Experience, Vol. IV', Cedille, 2CD-set. 

The Pacifica Quartet have been attracting numerous awards and column-inches for their excellent Shostakovich cycle, unique in pairing their releases with other Soviet quartets contemporaneous to the Shostakovich works featured. Of course, their third volume included Weinberg's Sixth Quartet in a masterful interpretation. This final disc features Schnittke's Third Quartet, perfect programming alongside Shostakovich's last three quartets. Several commentators have called for the group to record the remaining Schnittke quartets as a seperate project. Of course, I invite them to record as many Weinberg quartets as possible (and Myaskovsky, for that matter). Amazon link.

Ewelina Nowicka (violin), Milena Antonewicz (piano), 'Mieczysław Weinberg: Works for Violin and Piano', RecArt, Poland.

This album adds to the considerable amount of discs already released this year dedicated to Weinberg's works for violin. Works featured include the Sonatina, Op. 46, Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, and the Concertino, Op. 42, recorded for the first time in its arrangement for violin and piano. Available from amazon here and here. More info available from the RecArt website: link.


St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Lande, 'Symphony No. 12, Golden Key Suite No. 4'

Coming in January, the next installment of Naxos' hugely successful series of Weinberg's symphonies, this release featuring his twelfth, dedicated to Shostakovich. Paired alongside is the fourth suite from Weinberg's ballet The Golden Key, an extremely charming work to go with it. More info available here: link to Naxos page.

And, for the other upcoming release that I'd like mention, I have no CD cover photo, yet (UPDATE 19/12/13 - Yes I do, see above). Several websites have listed a new release by Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica, to be released in January. Information is extremely scarce, but several sources suggest that it will be a 2CD set, dedicated to orchestral works by Weinberg. I expect very good things; I shall update as and when more information becomes available.



I have found a track-listing for the Kremer double-album, with a release moved back to February 2014. The works featured will be:

Disc 1
Sonata No. 3 for solo violin Op. 126
Trio for Strings, Op. 48
Sonatina for Violin and Piano, Op. 46

Disc 2
Concertino for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 42
Symphony No. 10, Op. 98

It is interesting to see a blend of chamber and ensemble music over the course of a set, but I'm sure Kremer and his Orchestra will not disappoint.

My own work

Progress with my PhD-work is chugging along nicely, with looming chapter deadlines. I will be speaking at the RMA Research Student's conference at Birmingham University in January 2014, on the topic of 'The Influence of Anxiety', speaking on various theories on the aesthetics of influence in music. 

I'm also delighted to announce that I have been invited to speak at an international conference held at Leeds University, 'Continuities and Ruptures: Artistic Responses to Jewish Migration, Internment and Exile in the Long Twentieth Century'. The title of my paper is 'Commemorating the Past: Weinberg’s Experience as a Jewish Migrant in the USSR', and I shall be speaking on Weinberg's experience as a Jewish-Polish migrant to the Soviet Union, and the reception that he enjoyed over the course of his life. 

I shall update this post with more news/releases as and when I am aware of them. Do check back to this blog for more album reviews, work-focus posts and details of my upcoming work.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Work focus: Fourth Symphony, Op. 61

Weinberg's path as a symphonist evolved relatively late in his career; by the time of his Fourth Symphony, 1961, he was over forty years old and had been a professional composer for more than twenty years. His preceding symphonies had shown something of a struggle to find a voice. The First Symphony, Op. 10, is a strong work, but it betrays a heavily academic approach. His Second Symphony, Op. 30, is more restrained, scored for string orchestra. The Third Symphony, Op. 45, shows an evolution, heading towards the trajectory of the Fourth, but still with some way to go. But with the Fourth Symphony, Weinberg established a powerful voice as a symphonist. The work is arresting, challenging, and unique, but also with charm.
   Work began on the work in 1957, with subsequent revisions. The manuscript dates completion to 20 June, 1961, and the symphony was premiered on 16 October of the same year, with Kirill Kondrashin and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra (just a few weeks before the belated premiere of Shostakovich's own Fourth Symphony, performed by exactly the same forces). The piece is dedicated to Revol Bunin, a student of Shostakovich and a fellow composer. Bunin was a prolific composer and teacher, particularly active in scoring for films (Weinberg would go on to dedicate his Fifth Symphony to Kondrashin).

What other writers have said about the Fourth Symphony

S. Shlifstein, 1963 (foreword to orchestral score):
Weinberg’s name has of late been attracting the attention of the musical public. Profound themes, fresh and expressive lyrical melodies in the folk style, mastery of form, brilliant virtuosity and dynamism of orchestral writing – all this makes for high artistry of his creations. Technically impeccable, his works produce the impression of great ease.
    This is particularly true of his Fourth Symphony: for all its complexity (the work abounds in polyphonic devices, unexpected tonal shifts and its harmonic idiom is quite modern), the symphony seems light, transparent and deceptively simple. But there is nothing contradictory in this: simplicity is the summit of art. Every artist, however, has his own idea of simplicity; in the words of Vsevolod Meierhold, ‘There is no general and universal simplicity, just as there is no “golden mean” in art. An artist must strive for his own kind of simplicity which will be quite unlike the simplicity of his colleagues. In art, simplicity is the result and not the starting point’. So when we speak of ‘simplicity’ in Weinberg’s music we mean just this. Like other works written in later years, his Fourth Symphony reflects the composer’s ceaseless searchings for a style and simplicity of his own. And not merely searchings but also achievements. 

Gregor Tassie, Kirill Kondrashin: His Life and Music, (2011):
Among the Soviet composers whose works were taken up by Kondrashin
during this period was the Polish-born composer Moisei Vainberg. Kondrashin gave the world premieres of several of his symphonies. All of these were immediately set down by Melodiya, including a fine setting of the Violin Concerto with Leonid Kogan as soloist. Vainberg was fortunate in being performed by the most gifted musicians in the USSR: “Regarding the role of the performer, certainly if one knows that he is waiting for your music, it does help motivate one. I have written works commissioned by L. Kogan, D. Oistrakh, M. Rostropovich, and D. Shafran. If I didn’t enjoy the friendship of
R. Barshay, there probably would not have appeared my string symphonies. I worked on the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Symphonies aware that they would be performed by K. Kondrashin. I thank fate that during my career I have met genuinely wonderful interpreters.” (K. P. Kondrashin, “K 60-letiy K. P. Kondrashina,” 51).
 Susan J. Regan, 1971 (notes to Melodiya release):
First performed in October 1961, Vainberg's Fourth Symphony resembles the Violin Concerto in overall construction, with two vital and forceful outer movements, a lighter second movement and a more lyrical third movement. The symphony also reveals certain characteristics of Vainberg's style: polyphonic writing, particularly in development sections, a fondness for the clarinet which is given major themes in the first three movements, and for percussive writing in the brass (especially trumpets), pizzicato accompaniments to give a feeling of moment, and a penchant for dance and march rhythms. The harmony is alternately rich and dissonant, the melody alternately smooth and angular.

The Music

For the interest of readers, the score for the Fourth Symphony is conveniently available on the ISSUU website, read-only, available here. The youtube videos are from both the Kondrashin and Chmura recordings.

First movement - Allegro
 The symphony opens with a striking unison string line, clunky and stark, recurring throughout the movement. In counterpoint to this rhythmically shifting line, a brass fanfare. Pinpointed against this is a woodwind answer, which will go later to herald the second theme of the movement, first heard in the clarinet. A restatement of the opening follows, with complex development and both themes alternating between the violins and horn, all underpinned by the unison string line. The central development introduces a march-like theme before a recapitulation of both themes. The timpani signal a shortened version of the opening, leading a hurried close.

Second movement - Allegretto
The clarinet takes centre-stage in this slower movement, leading the first theme to pizzicato accompaniment. This meandering and pastoral line moves to the strings, before a jaunty and militaristic second theme is heard in the trumpet, shifting to woodwind. Increasing in drama, the two themes are combined before a return to the opening material.

Third movement - Adagio - Andantino
This Mahlerian slow movement is perhaps the most striking passage of the whole work, showing Weinberg's lyrical mood in symphonic form for the first time. A solo horn opens the movement with a melancholic recitative, answered by the cellos with the first theme. The clarinet takes prominence again, with the second theme, ascending passionately. The central section combines both themes and increases in intensity, building up to a crushing anti-climax before the restatement of the opening. This beautiful movement paints an exquisite picture for the listener.

Fourth movement - Vivace
The finale marks a return to the fast-paced polyphony of the opening movement, with several nods to the descending brass figure that began the work. Such energy is now condensed into a whirling sequence of folk-like dances, with a particular emphasis on Jewish-like themes (several commentators have pointed out a resemblance to the Belo-russyan song 'Perepyolochka', hidden beneath troikas and mazurkas). Many themes follow one after the other, showing off Weinberg's accomplished orchestration skills, with passages for xylophone and tambourine, and others for woodwind. They give way to a broad song-like theme in warm strings, before a headlong drive towards a flurry that concludes the symphony with a punch.

Recommended recordings
To the best of my knowledge, the reader has a choice between two recordings (one of them released and re-released in many different guises).

1. Kondrashin and the Moscow Philharmonic (Melodiya)

This recording has become something of a collector's item on vinyl and on CD. It is available second hand on currently, and also available as a download from the Melodiya shop on iTunes.

2. Gabriel Chmura and the National Polish Symphony Orchestra (Chandos)

Widely available on CD and amazon download.

In my opinion, I side with the Kondrashin recording. Partly because of the biographical interest, as it features the forces that premiered the work, but also because it boasts a slightly warmer sound than the Chandos series on Weinberg's symphonies. If at all possible, try to source the Kondrashin on vinyl, paired with the Violin Concerto, Op. 67, performed flawlessly by Leonid Kogan. 

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Review: Complete Violin Sonatas, Volume Two (Yuri Kalnits and Michael Csányi-Wills, Toccata Classics)

This new release sees the long-awaited second volume in the Toccata Classics series of Weinberg's Violin Sonatas, with Yuri Kalnits on violin and Michael Csányi-Wills on piano (link to the Toccata website - complete with audio samples - here). On first impressions, the disc is attractively packaged and after several listens, I am more than convinced that this series is the one to opt for when it comes to Weinberg's violin works.

The first volume was released to rave reviews in 2011, and went on to win the prestigious Diapson d'Or award. The showcasing of excellent playing and choice of programming is extended onto this disc. With a third and final volume expected, the real strength of this series lies in its scope; the discs feature not only Weinberg's sonatas for violin and piano, but also the sonatas for solo violin, and several smaller works for good measure. 

This second volume features the second and fifth sonatas for Violin and Piano, the second solo sonata and the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes for Violin and Piano. This huge variety gives Kalnits great opportunity to demonstrate his virtuosity on his instrument, while Csányi-Wills proves a sensitive and supporting accompanist.

The music

Weinberg wrote some thirty sonatas in total, a mixture of solo and ensemble with piano. Weinberg's writing for the violin was masterful from early on in his career, perhaps since his Father was a violin-player. Over the course of his life, Weinberg was able to work with some of the very best Soviet violinists, including David Oistrakh and Leonid Kogan.

- The first work featured on this disc is the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, Op. 47, No. 3. The original version was scored for orchestra, but Weinberg also produced this version. The published score features fingerings by Oistrakh himself. It is one of Weinberg's most appealing works, widely recorded and a favourite encore of Oistrakh.

At just under ten minutes, the work opens with an elegaic piano line. For the hushed opening, Kalnits and Csányi-Wills strike up a perfect balance, creating a hushed anticipation. A folk-inflected song theme emerges, the first of many to be elaborated on through the work. A slow but steady increase in tempo sees the violin soaring up to the heights for the first time on this disc - which Kalnits takes utterly in his stride. Indeed, these passages stand testament to the high recording quality - the balance is nothing below perfect throughout. At 4:15, the frantic and giddy scherzo-like central section of the work begins. The duo do justice to the near-manic mood, powering through to an ecstatic finish.

- Next up is the Second Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 15. The connections with Oistrakh continue here: the manuscript bears a dedication to him (almost certainly added years after it was first written) and Oistrakh gave the premiere performance in 1962. The language is similar to the First Sonata, written the previous year, though there are several indicators of an increasing sense of ambition. The piano has several opportunities to shine, such as at 2:30 in the first movement and Csányi-Wills does not neglect them. Following this passage a near-fugato dialogue between the duo begins, with effortless transition - this is clearly an excellent musical pairing. The introspective and searching Lento movement is here performed with energy, giving respite yet never failing to be gripping in interpretation. The lyrical mood is continued, now extended with a slightly more energetic folk-like episode. Fanning's liner notes point to similarities with the Third Quartet, Op. 14, immediately preceding the sonata. These include an ending that appears to lack conviction - Weinberg's full mastery of cyclic forms would be reached in a few years time.

- Compared with his First Sonata for solo violin, the second, Op. 95 is much more approachable. The first takes a caustic attitude, first heard in the Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 69. It takes a structure similar to a suite, to be noted from the movement titles. Kalnits has ample opportunity to showcase his talent as he weaves several lines at once, across several different techniques and textures. The work is dedicated to another great Soviet violinist, Mikhail Fikhtengolts. The seven movements of the work are inter-linked and named as follows:
Monody - Rests - Intervals - Repliques - Accompaniment - Invocation - Syncopations
They can accurately be described as a series of inter-linked studies - though it is much less demanding than Weinberg's first solo sonata - perhaps to the soloist's relief! (Though, of course, that work is tackled with full mastery on the First Volume).

- The final work on the disc is the Fifth Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 53, arguably the greatest of Weinberg's sonata works. Its mournful yet optimistic character can be ascribed to the fact that it was the first work Weinberg wrote after his release from prison in 1953. The work is dedicated to Shostakovich, perhaps as a result of his intervention on Weinberg's behalf during his imprisonment. The modal-inflected melody of the opening is portrayed tenderly by Csányi-Wills, as Kalnits soars high above later in the movement. The Allegro molto that follows is more fiendish, with a scurrying piano part that re-emphasises the modal inflection from beforehand. The third movement opens with a distinctive passage of complex violin double-stopping, soon joined by aggressive accents in the piano part. For the finale, Weinberg juxtaposes several tempo changes, beginning with a light and frantic violin line, before a funereal piano line interrupts, with hints of the opening movement, and a nod to Schubert and Debussy. An intense fugue for piano takes centreplace of this movement, similar to the Preludes and Fugues of Shostakovich, Op. 87. A heartfelt coda follows, rounding off this well-balanced work, and providing a moving close to this disc.

Overall, this disc represent a fantastic continuation of the series, with the partnership of Kalnits and Csányi-Wills continuing onto new heights. Comes highly recommended. 

Further Listening

- The obvious choice for further listening would be the first volume in the series, to be found here.

- Of further interest, see the Challenge Classics release of the near-complete works for Violin and Piano, with Linus Roth and José Gallardo (see my review here). While an excellent release, the Toccata series has the upper hand, with a sensitive balance, and the addition of the solo works alongside.

Monday 11 November 2013

November update

This is a brief post, just to update with some details of my goings-on and some pieces of Weinberg-related news.

Festival Voix Etouffees, Strasbourg

I've just returned from the colloquium 'Festival Voix Etouffees', at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg. I was invited to speak on the topic of Holocaust commemoration in Weinberg's music. I received very encouraging feedback afterwards, and I very much enjoyed the rest of the colloquium. I'm pleased to announce that my paper will be published in the conference proceedings in the new year.

The colloquium featured many excellent papers, as well as several concerts, including music by Hans Gal and Alexandr Mosolov. In particular, I was lucky enough to attend an extremely rare live performance of Mosolov's First Piano Concerto - an utter assault on the ears, which left several members of the audience visibly shaken!

I extend my deepest thanks to the staff of the colloquium and the Council of Europe for making me feel most welcome, especially to Amaury du Closel, director of the Strasbourg Philharmonic, and to Carole Reich, co-ordinator of the Council's anti-discrimination campaign.

The Festival continues with concerts, including several performances of Weinberg's First Flute Concerto, Op. 75. See this interview with Amaury du Closel: Link

New Release

There has been a new release on the Toccata label, 'Weinberg Complete Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2', with Yuri Kalnits on Violin and Michael Csányi-Wills on piano. 

Available to buy from the Toccata website - Link. My review will follow shortly.

The Passenger in Houston, Texas

Weinberg's masterpiece The Passenger will be receiving its American premiere in January 2014, at the hands of the Houston Grand Opera. From their website:

Memory can comfort, torment-even terrify-but it is always with us. As Faulkner wrote, "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past."
The horrors of the Second World War, still raw today, were fresh in 1959 when Auschwitz survivor Zofia Posmysz wrote a play titled The Passenger from Cabin 45 for Polish radio. The play became the basis of the opera by Mieczyslaw Weinberg in 1967.
   En route to a new post with her husband, a German diplomat, Lisa is unnerved by the sight of a woman-another passenger-who eerily resembles Martha, one of the inmates Lisa tormented when she was an SS overseer at Auschwitz. 
   The action of the drama takes us from the stylish gentility of a luxury liner's deck to the squalor of a death camp where cruelty, despair, and unspeakable courage are evident in equal measure. This American premiere will be one of the most important musical events of the year.
The production is a revival of David Pountney's acclaimed staging of the opera, first seen at the Bregenz Festival, 2010. Michelle Breedt will be reprising her excellent performance as Liese, the ex-camp guard. Tickets are still available from the Houston Grand Opera website here.

PeerMusic Weinberg scores -  previews available online

It has come to my attention that PeerMusic has been uploading several items from their catalogue for preview online, on the 'issuu' website. PeerMusic's profile, with a full list of all their previews, can be found here. Please see below for a list of Weinberg works available, with links. 

Symphony No. 2, Op. 30 Link
Violin Concertino, Op. 42 Link 
Cello Concerto, Op. 43 Link
Symphony No. 3, Op. 45 Link
Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, Op. 47, No. 1 Link
Symphony No. 4, Op. 61 Link 
Flute Concerto No. 1, Op. 75 Link
Symphony No. 5, Op. 76 Link  
Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 145 Link 
Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 147 Link  
Chamber Symphony No. 3, Op. 151 Link 
Symphony No. 21, Op. 152 Link 
Chamber Symphony No. 4, Op. 153 Link  

These scores represent a real treasure for Weinberg enthusiasts, giving a small overview of Weinberg's Orchestral works, from almost his entire career.  


Thursday 31 October 2013

Review: Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Candida Thompson - Weinberg Concertino, Shostakovich Chamber Symphonies

For their 25th Anniversary, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta have chosen to record an album of Russian music, under the leadership of Artistic Director, Candida Thompson. The SACD disc comes in a handsome package, along with a 'making of' DVD as an extra (which I am yet to watch - I may add a note here if anything interesting arises). Excellent sound comes as a standard with this ensemble, who have previously recorded string orchestra arrangements of Shostakovich's 2nd and 4th Quartets. The Weinberg concertino has been recorded elsewhere, to be found on the Naxos label's 2011 release, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Sanderling, with Sergey Ostrovsky as soloist. This rendition is clearly the stronger option, if only as a document from the ensemble that gave the West-European premiere of the work in 2009.

Weinberg's Concertino, Op. 42

The Concertino for Violin and String Orchestra was written at the beginning of July 1948, while Weinberg was on holiday. This may perhaps explain the pastoral nature of the work. The three movements never stray far from the lyrical vein. The solo part is demanding throughout, particularly in the finale, but the ensemble writing is not particularly taxing. These factors combined would go to suggest the work may have been written as a holiday-relaxation exercise, while the accessibility and tunefulness might suggest an ambition to please official requirements for composers, particularly following the Composers' Union debacle witnessed at the start of the year. The Concertino can be viewed as a sister-work to the full-blown Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 43, written immediately afterwards. Indeed, the two share a lyrical mood, but the cello concerto is a near-symphonic work, with passages of heightened drama.
   The Concertino appears to have been 'written for the drawer' (i.e. Weinberg never heard it performed during his lifetime). It was certainly performed in Moscow in 1999, with a festival celebrating the 80th anniversary of the composer's birth. PeerMusic published the score in 2007, and it was the Amsterdam Sinfonietta who gave the Western premiere in 2009.


With this in mind, the handling of the Concertino is excellent. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta have a keen reputation for attention to detail, above all, dynamic control and balance. This is on full display throughout this recording - the pastoral mood of the Weinberg is communicated beautifully. The remaining pieces on the disc follow a recent trend of pairing a Weinberg work with Shostakovich that outdates it by some twenty years or so. In this case, Rudolf Barshai's arrangements of the Eighth and Tenth Quartets. The choice of the latter is perhaps obvious - Shostakovich's Tenth Quartet is dedicated to Weinberg, reflective of their quartet-writing 'competition' during the 1960s. The Eighth quartet is arguably Shostakovich's most famous work, a good for an opener for this disc.
   I myself have never been a great fan of Barshai's arrangements, dubbed 'Chamber Symphonies', even though they were made with Shostakovich's blessing. Perhaps I just enjoy the more intimate instrumentation of the string quartet. However, the renditions on this disc serve to change my mind; at least, for the duration of the album. Their approach to balance brings out many subtle shades in the Eighth Quartet, ones that are just not achievable in the quartet genre.

Overall, I rate this disc excellent, for the craftsmanship on display throughout and the sensitive approach to the music itself. For other recommended listening, I advise the Naxos 2011 rendition of the Concertino for comparison, and Rostropovich in the Weinberg Concerto.

Naxos Link

Saturday 12 October 2013

1966 photo - Kondrashin

Warsaw 1966 (Left to right: Weinberg, Nina Kondrashina and Kirill Kondrashin).

[N.B. Gregor Tassie's book 'Kondrashin, his Life and Music' dates this photograph to 1962, but Weinberg did not return to Poland until 1966, as part of the Soviet delegation for the Warsaw Autumn Festival of that year.]

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Why Weinberg?

Now that I find myself beginning the second year of my doctoral studies, I feel it is time to create something of a mission statement for this blog, and for my work in general. I have now been writing solely on Weinberg for the last two years, and been enjoying his music for little over four years. Before then, I was unaware. I draw the reader to an important question, both for new listeners, and for critics of Weinberg's music:

"Why Weinberg?"
I hope to give an introduction and a defence for Weinberg's music. I absolutely welcome any conversation and comments, so do please get in contact with your thoughts. 

My own reasons
As listeners, we are drawn to particular styles. It's only natural for us to enjoy music that is stylistically similar to that which we already enjoy. But when we approach the wide-reaching genre of 'Classical Music' for the first time, this may be daunting. Some of us are lucky enough to be raised in an atmosphere of listening and performing, working through a wide range of repertoire. Others come to listen later in life. Each listener shares one thing in common, however. A belief instilled that there is a pinnacle, a pantheon of greatness that is untouched, sealed and even sacred.
    I don't wish to get bogged down in arguments around the musical 'canon'. My own gut reactions include terms like 'Elitist' and 'Exclusive' – such debates are well-worn in musicology. One thing is certain. Individual composers can and do get left behind. Music that is perhaps mediocre at best is bizarrely preserved, while pieces that were never given the attention they deserve are forgotten.  Great music goes unheard, and great artists are lost forever. Such an issue is fundamental to our ways of thinking about Classical music, and revealing for how to challenge such notions in the future. There are a huge number of people fighting for the causes of a vast number of such 'under-appreciated' composers. And I rooted for Weinberg. Here's why I think you should too.

As a performer, and as a listener, I have a wide range of tastes. Outside of Art music, I heartily enjoy classic rock and English folk music. My favourite composers include Bach, Steve Reich and Stockhausen. My own listening in Art music has trended towards music of the Twentieth Century. No special reason, I just found myself drawn towards the comparatively exciting and daring sounds. As a result, I adore the music of Ives, Berg, Gershwin, Bartók, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Britten, Prokofiev, Copland, Messiaen, Stockhausen, Cage, Schoenberg, Reich, Lutosławski, Martinů and a host of others. All this in addition to my loves from the pre-Twentieth-Century era. So why was I drawn to Weinberg in particular?

I was attracted by the similarity to several of my favourite composers. Weinberg's music frequently displays its influences in great clarity, making it readily accessible for lovers of Shostakovich and Bartók. There's also plenty to satisfy fans of Prokofiev, Britten and Berg. Even touches of Debussy and Zemlinsky. See my previous writing on works to introduce listeners to the wide world of Weinberg's music: 'Weinberg for beginners' (also contains a brief biography)

Weinberg and Shostakovich.

And this takes us to the first criticism to defend against. Critics have singled out Weinberg's clear influences as a sign of weakness or unoriginality. I have sought to dismiss these claims in several ways. Firstly, Weinberg was writing in the aggressive climate of the USSR Composer's Union, an organisation which imposed certain expectation upon artists. Tasked with producing socially useful art, composers were encouraged to write towards a standard of music exemplified by approved works. So if Weinberg's music is sometimes strikingly similar in sound, this can be excused as a result of the requirement for it to sound as such.
   The case for defence is even greater with the similarity to Shostakovich's music. I have already written about the two composer's great friendship and interest in each other's works. An upcoming paper that I am working on seeks to set out mutual influence between the pair, often originating from Weinberg as opposed to Shostakovich. See my previous post, 'Weinberg and Influence'.

Another query to defend – "Why should I listen to Weinberg?" or "What makes this music so special?". I defend this quite simply: this music is frequently quite beautiful. It represents a continuation of a tradition long-thought to have abruptly stopped with the death of Shostakovich. This can be summed up as an observation of traditional means and forms, while seeking to express present-day anxieties with a great focus on melodic expansiveness. (That might seem overly complicated - just listen to some of the youtube clips in my above posts, and my meaning should become apparent). Instead of some kind of imitation of other great masters, Weinberg's music fights its own corner in a manner that demands attention. His opera 'The Passenger' is a demanding work, attracting audiences from all around the world. See this post on 'The Passenger', with clips.
   His opera 'The Idiot' has been enjoying sell-out audiences since its Western premiere in Mannheim earlier this year. Weinberg's music is undergoing an undeniable renewal, with more and more releases and performances lined up.

In my own work, I hope to have several papers published shortly, and I will continue speaking at conferences, introducing and exalting the music of Weinberg. Over the short time that I have been writing on his music, I have borne witness to a change in opinion. The question that people have been asking has changed. Originally, it started with "Why Weinberg?". I hope that this blog has gone some way to address that. Now, the question has reversed to "Why haven't we heard this before?". With this change of attitude, I feel I do not have to apologise for writing on an obscure composer. Instead, I readily enjoy hearing new reactions to this music. They encourage me that it is music worth fighting for.

Weinberg's Clarinet Sonata, Op. 28.

Friday 20 September 2013

Мелодия archive goes online

Melodiya, the Soviet state music label, has recently celebrated its Fiftieth birthday, and now they have unexpectedly announced that they will begin releasing digitized versions of their enormous catalogue. 

The first batch of 350 albums was made available on Apple's iTunes store on Tuesday of this week - with more to follow in November.

Link to Melodiya store in itunes 

The distribution is being handled by a label called The Orchard. From their website:


The first titles to be released exclusively on iTunes
beginning September 17, 2013
NEW YORK, NY; MOSCOW, RS – The Orchard, a pioneering music, film and video distribution company and the iconic Russian record label Melodiya (Russian: Мелодия) announce the digital release of 750 titles from Melodiya’s historic catalogue to be made available exclusively on iTunes. The first albums will be released on iTunes beginning on September 17 with a second group scheduled for early November. iTunes is also hand-selecting titles to feature in a dedicated Melodiya section of the store. Other digital service providers will begin offering Melodiya titles after the New Year. This announcement celebrates the result of a long-term initiative to digitize Melodiya’s catalogue and the first time Melodiya’s classical catalog has ever been available for download.
Since Melodiya gained ownership of its catalogue from the former Soviet Union, it has reinvigorated its imprint, which began with a strategic move in June 2013 to re-release some of their popular recordings on the vinyl format.  In addition to the reintroduction of vinyl releases, Melodiya has invested significant resources in re-mastering the original recordings, digitizing them and making them available for sale globally.
Andrey Krichevsky, CEO for Melodiya, says:
“Digitizing the catalogue for download was a natural step forward in making Melodiya’s repertoire widely available. Over time, the tape archive has become less protected from the environment, and we realized that it was critical to try and revitalize this recorded legacy for future generations.”
The newly available digital collection will feature recordings from Melodiya’s historic classical catalogue, including notable artists such as conductors Evgeny Svetlanov, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Kirill Kondrashin, Yevgeny Mravinsky; pianists Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, Maria Grinberg, Glenn Gould, Yevgeny Kissin, Maria Yudina, and Van Cliburn; violinists David Oistrakh and Leonid Kogan; violist Yuri Bashmet; cellists Mstislav Rostropovich, Natalia Gutman, and Daniil Shafran; the Borodin and Beethoven string quartets; and opera singers Feodor Chaliapin, Galina Vishnevskaya, and Irina Arkhipova.
Brad Navin, CEO for The Orchard, says:
“Melodiya represents a wealth of the most authentic Soviet era recordings featuring the works of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and other greats. We are proud to work with this historic label and happy that many of the recorded masters were able to be preserved to be available to the world digitally.”
Highlights from the classical releases will include a complete set of Mahler symphonies with Kirill Kondrashin; Symphony Nos. 4 & 6 by Mieczysław Weinberg, also with Kondrashin; the complete Sibelius and Prokofiev symphonies with Gennady Rozhdestvensky and the USSR State Radio and TV Orchestra; Bruckner’s 8th and 9th symphonies with Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic; the complete string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich with the Borodin Quartet as well as select Shostakovich quartets featuring the Beethoven Quartet (the quartet who premiered 13 out of Shostakovich’s 15 string quartets); Shostakovich violin and viola sonatas featuring David Oistrakh, Yuri Bashmet, and Sviatoslav Richter. Other highlights include Schnittke’s Faust Concerto and Concerto Grosso with Natalia Gutman, Oleg Kagan, and Raisa Kotova, led by Gennady Rozhdestvensky; the complete Beethoven sonatas with pianist Maria Grinberg; and many rare recordings by David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Elizaveta Gilels, Leonid Kogan, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Yevgeny Kissin and others.
Non-classical titles will include popular Soviet bands such as Zemlyane, Pesnyary, Samotsvety; the Azerbaijani vocal jazz quartet “Gaya”, instrumental ensemble Melodiya, series such as Sdelano V Sssr and Musical Cocktail;  Kamarinskaya / Russian Balalaika, and representatives of Soviet funk and jazz. Melodiya also plans to release recordings of the iconic Russian artist Vladimir Vysotsky. 
Firma Melodiya was established by the ordinance of the USSR Council of Ministers in 1964 to replace the former All-Union Studio of Gramophone Recording and unite the sound recording studios located in Moscow, Leningrad, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Tbilisi, Alma-Ata and Tashkent. Being a monopoly of domestic record production and having the biggest creative musical potential in the world, for more than 25 years Firma Melodiya has accomplished a tremendous work recording and releasing records of classical, folk and popular music, as well as literary, historical and political recordings. Dozens of millions of records sold in the most remote corners of the Soviet Union and many countries of the world, and over 90 thousand archival tapes stored by Firma Melodiya are obvious evidence of the fact.
Firma Melodiya today is a modern company that holds a confident position in the Russian and world sound recording markets, and actively cooperates with its foreign partners. The nearest plans include further reissues of the most treasured recordings from the archives on CDs as well as on vinyl and digital sales.
As of 1973, Melodiya had released approximately 1,200 vinyl albums with an extensive catalogue of music by Soviet composers, musicians, theater actors, authors of fairy tales for children, and more. Melodiya also released some of the most successful western pop, jazz and rock records, including Michael Jackson, ABBA, Paul McCartney, Boney M., Dave Grusin, Amanda Lear, and Bon Jovi.
In other countries, Melodiya recordings imported from the USSR were often sold under the label MK, which stood for Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga (“International Book”, Russian: Μеждународная Книга). In the United States, many Melodiya recordings appeared on the domestically manufactured Monitor Records label. In the 1970s and 1980s, Melodiya recordings of classical and folk music appeared on Melodiya/Angel (USA) and Melodiya/HMV (other countries) as the result of an exclusive contract with EMI, the owner of both labels."

At £8 per single album (more in case of larger discs), each download doesn't come cheap compared to other online vendors, and I'm sure that some enthusiasts will miss the physical product (myself included - especially RE: liner notes!). I've started the collection with Evgeny Svetlanov and the USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra playing Rimsky-Korsakov (image below).

Audio quality is decent, though not excellent (clearly the result from a live recording or transfer). The real shame is a lack of liner notes, simply for information on the recording, if anything. The titles don't come cheap, but it certainly beats hunting round the collector's trading centres of the internet.

Of course, readers are directed to the first Weinberg gem of the collection to be released, Kondrashin conducting the Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow State Philharmonic Society in Symphonies 4 & 6 (picture below). Stay posted for a review.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Photo, c. 1962

 Weinberg at his desk, during work on the Op. 77 Romances on Texts by Julian Tuwim. Note the portraits of Shostakovich and Myaskovsky on the wall above.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Review: Complete Sonatas for Viola Solo - Julia Rebekka Adler and Jascha Nemtsov

In short, this release is a delight for all listeners, whether new to Weinberg, or specialists. 

Having borrowed a copy of this excellent two-CD set several years ago, I was delighted to have a chance at a more thorough listen. Adler's virtuosity and commitment to the repertoire shine throughout, backed by Jascha Nemtsov on piano for two opening works which serve as a prelude for the body of the album, Weinberg's four solo Viola Sonatas.

The choice of programming couldn't be better. Weinberg wrote a large body of works for solo string instruments, including the largest opus for solo cello by a single composer. In this collection, in addition to the Viola Sonatas (the latter three of which are here recorded for the first time), there is an arrangement of the Clarinet Sonata, Op. 28, for Viola and Piano, and an ultra-rare chance to hear a work by the celebrated Violist, Fyodor Druzhinin, in his Viola Sonata (also a world premiere).

Disc 1
Weinberg - Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 28 (Viola transcription)
Druzhinin - Sonata for Viola Solo
Weinberg - Sonata for Viola Solo, No. 1, Op. 107

The Clarinet Sonata is one of Weinberg's most popular works, understandable from its easily-accessible language and charming opening movement. In Viola transcription, the warmth of the solo line is heavily accentuated, as well as the soaring qualities present in the adagio third movement.

Druzhinin was perhaps most famous for his position as Violist with the Beethoven Quartet, replacing his teacher Vadim Borisovsky in 1964. He was also head of the Viola department at the Moscow Conservatoire for more than twenty years, with notable pupils including Yuri Bashmet. Shostakovich dedicated his final work, the Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147, to Druzhinin. The sonata clearly demonstrates Druzhinin's mastery for the instrument, as well as a keen sense of drama in composition.

Finally, then, the first of Weinberg's Viola Sonatas to round off the disc. Weinberg's predates Shostakovich's Sonata, as it was written in July 1971. It is also dedicated to Druzhinin (hence the comment on the excellent programming!) All of Weinberg's sonatas for solo viola date from his later years, and display tendencies to be found across his later style, employing a tough and abstract musical language. This can be heard in the opening movement, though Adler exploits the melodic qualities to their full potential. The pace quickens with the second movement, before side-stepping for a more contemplative adagio third movement. However, it is in the Allegro fourth movement that Adler's virtuoso playing really comes into its own for the first time on this album. A clock-like pulsing begins that remains insistent through the whole of the movement, slowly expanding in register, leading to a multitude of technical effects. Triplets emerge out of the pulsing, soon replaced by semiquaver flourishes, which themselves expand into hugely demanding quadruple stops and runs of harmonic notes. Adler's playing communicates a great control and clam, providing a thrilling conclusion to the first disc.

Disc 2
Weinberg - Sonata for Viola Solo, No. 2, Op. 123
Sonata for Viola Solo, No. 3, Op. 135
Sonata for Viola Solo, No. 4, Op. 136

Weinberg's Second Sonata for Solo Viola was written in August 1978 and is dedicated to Dmitry Shebalin. Shebalin (son of Vissarion Shebalin, the composer) was most famous for succeeding Rudolf Barshai as Violist for the Borodin Quartet. Shebalin was a pivotal member of the ensemble for over forty years. Weinberg had a close working relationship with the Borodin Quartet; no fewer than five of his quartets were premiered by the ensemble, and he dedicated three to them as a group - the 8th, 13th and 17th (the last on the occasion of the group's 40th anniversary). Shebalin passed away earlier this month, at the age of Eighty-Three.
    The second Viola Sonata is perhaps more approachable than the First, as the almost-excessive virtuosic demands are absent. It is also, however, more embedded in Weinberg's later style, where his melodic focus moves into a more abstract territory. A new sense of fragility is introduced in this work, which comes across excellently in the warm recording tone.

   The Third and Fourth Sonatas were written just over a year apart - the former in August 1982, the latter in December 1983. They were given consecutive opus numbers, and both are dedicated to Mikhail Tolpïgo, also a student of Borisovsky, like Druzhinin, but also principal viola of the USSR Academic Symphony Orchestra. The Third Sonata is an extremely demanding work across five movements - of course, Adler takes such challenges in her stride, as well as hinting at the insular fragility that will be further emphasised in the Fourth Sonata. The later work is much more subdued, but also has many beautiful moments, especially in the final movement.

Overall, then, this CD represents a fine set. Adler's playing is warm and controlled throughout, showing refinement in the dark lyricism of Weinberg's later style and virtuosity in the challenging demands of Weinberg's solo writing. For specialists' interest, the programming couldn't be better and the CD packaging is excellent, in keeping with the Neos label's other Weinberg releases. I heartily recommend this recording, especially as an introduction into the sound world of Weinberg's extensive writing for solo strings.

Links of interest:

Album to buy on

Concert recordings from Adler's own website, including a live performance of the second sonata

Dmitry Shebalin, obituary (The Strad) - included for topical relevance

Friday 23 August 2013

Happy 90th Birthday to Zofia Posmysz

Today is the 90th birthday of Zofia Posmysz, author of The Passenger, which provided the impetus for Weinberg's celebrated opera of the same name. I wish her many happy returns, and many more years in which to continue the inspiring work that has made her famous.

A tireless writer and campaigner about Holocaust commemoration and education, Posmysz's contribution to the field will be celebrated at a ceremony by the International Auschwitz Committee (more details here).

Here is an excerpt from my post about Posmysz and The Passenger:

"The story of 'The Passenger' started several years before Weinberg even encountered it, however, and to tell the tale of its conception, we must focus on a Polish author, Zofia Posmysz.

Zofia Posmysz camp photograph, Auschwitz.
Posmysz was 18 years old when she was arrested by the Nazi gestapo for accompanying an individual who was distributing political leaflets. She was sent to Auschwitz camp, where we was imprisoned for three years. During that time, she was witness to immeasurable cruelty and despair, but she also found hope. A young Polish officer by the name of Tadeusz risked his life to make her a medallion featuring Christ on the cross, a medallion which Posmysz wears to this day. During her incarceration, she nearly died from Typhoid, but she recovered and survived Auschwitz. 
   An incident in 1962 vividly returned her to life in the camp–and directly inspired the scenario that would go on to become 'The Passenger'. While visiting the Champs-Elysées in Paris, she overheard a group of German Tourists:
Suddenly I heard a voice. It was remarkably like the voice of our guard Frau Franz. Her voice always sounded so shrill… And now I could hear the same screams in the Place de la Concorde. I thought: ‘My God, it’s our prison guard!’ I looked in every direction and tried to find her but of course it wasn’t her. Even so, my heart missed a beat. And I thought: ‘If it had been her, what would I have done?’

 Posmsyz confronted her past, and wrote a radio play in 1959 called 'Passenger from cabin 45'. By 1962, this had expanded into a book, ' Pasażerka'." 

For further reading, see these links:

Jessica Duchen interview with Posmysz  

Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 'Memories of music at Auschwitz' 

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Round-up of news

This is a short round-up of recent and upcoming releases, upcoming concerts and events and anything else in the category of 'other news'.


I hope the release of the Pacifica Quartet's 'Soviet Experience Vol. 3' CD has not slipped reader's by – the latest volume in their excellent Shostakovich cycle features Weinberg's Sixth Quartet, in a refreshing and energised rendition. BBC Music's CD of the month in their August issue this year, it is certainly well worth buying. (The previous two volumes of Shostakovich quartets, featuring Myaskovsky's Thirteenth Quartet and Prokofiev's First, are also well worth buying, if only for the dynamism in their Shostakovich interpretations).

September sees the release of a new CD, featuring Weinberg's Concertino for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 42, alongside the familiar Chamber Symphonies of Shostakovich (i.e. Quartets 8 and 10 arranged for String Orchestra by Rudolf Barshai – the tenth quartet should stand out to readers, as it is dedicated to Weinberg). This album is released to celebrate the silver anniversary of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, with artistic director Candida Thompson as soloist. [Review to follow upon release].
P.s. more info available here.


Hamburg Chamber Music Festival
 - I have promoted this upcoming event several times. See here for my previous post on the festival. See their website also, for more info.

Traunsteiner Sommerkonzerte
 - A mini-festival, running 1st-8th September in the town of Traunstein, Bavaria, with a composer-portrait focus on Weinberg.
Their programme features the following Weinberg works:

'The Cranes are Flying' - (Film Screening)
 Piano Quintet, Op. 18
Clarinet Sonata, Op. 28
Third sonata for solo Viola, Op. 135
Second sonata for Cello and piano, Op. 63
String Quartet No. 15, Op. 124
Screening of the 2010 Bregenz production of The Passenger, Op. 97
Piano trio, Op. 24

It's certainly an exciting programme, one with a great list of performers, too, including the Quatuor Danel, Julia Rebekkah Adler, Atrium Quartett, Jascha Nemsov and many others who will be familiar to Weinberg enthusiasts.

See the festival website here.

Wigmore Hall, London

A chamber music concert, featuring piano trios by Shostakovich, Weinberg and Brahms, with Janine Jensen, Torleif Thedéen and Itamar Golan.

Programme as follows:
Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor Op. 8
Piano Trio Op. 24
Piano Trio No. 1 in B Op. 8
Tickets and further info can be found at the Wigmore Hall website, here.

Upcoming dates

23rd August (next Friday) marks the ninetieth birthday of Zofia Posmysz, author of the novel Pasażerka, upon which Weinberg's opera The Passenger is based. Posmysz is a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and a ceremony has been organised in her honour for 25th August, by the International Auschwitz committee - link here.

For more info on Posmysz and The Passenger, see my post here.

Other news

I am delighted to inform you that I will be speaking at the Festival Voix Etouffées in Strausbourg, 7-8 November, on the topic of Weinberg and Holocaust commemoration. More details to follow. D.E.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Weinberg at the movies

Weinberg's generation was one of the first to grow up surrounded by cinema. As a burgeoning composer, he often wrote music for film to supplement his income ('supplement' may not be the right word; Weinberg earned a very comfortable living from his film work alone). While other composers in the twentieth-century dismissed such duties as 'hack-work', Weinberg took his work seriously, proving himself as an extremely effective writer for cinema.

What follows is an extensive (but by no means exhaustive) list of Weinberg's film work, including several Youtube clips to illustrate his proficiency in the genre.


I have tried to be as accurate as possible with translations and release dates. If there any corrections, please do not hesitate to get in contact. This list was produced from my own notes in consultation with the IMDB website and Claude Torres's excellent website dedicated to Weinberg (see links below).


Fredek uszczęśliwia świat (Poland, 1936) [Fredek makes the World Happy] Released as ‘Happy Freddy’ in the UK

Polkan i Shavka (1949) [Polkan and Shavka] Animation

Dedushka i Vnuchek (1950) [Grandfather and Grandson] Animation

Khrabryy Pak (1953) [Brave Pak] Animation

Dva Druga (1955) [Two Friends] Gorky Film Studios

Ukrotitelnitsa Tigrov (1955) [The Tiger Tamer]

A suite of the film music was made: Suite of the film music 1  
2nd Part

Medovyy Mesyats (1956) [The Honeymoon] Romantic Comedy

Devenatset Mesyatsev (1956) [The Twelve Months] Animation

Letyat Zhuravli (1957) [The Cranes are Flying] - Winner of Palme D’Or, Cannes Film Festival 1958

Whole film (no subs)

Posledniy Dyuym (1958) [The Last Inch]

Whole film on youtube (No subs)
Not youtube, but with subs

Shofyor Ponevole (1958) [A Reluctant Driver]

Posledniye Zalpy (1960) [The Last Volley] War film

Most Pereyti Nel’zya (1960) [Bridge cannot be passed]

Sud Sumasshedshikh (1961) [Court of the Mad]

Clip, featuring some music

Bar’yer Neizvestnosti (1961) [Barrier of Uncertainty]

Molodo-Zeleno (1962) [Young Green]

Ulitsa Nyutona, Dom 1 (1963) [Newton Street, House 1]

Toptyzhka (1964) Animation

Pereklichka (1965) [Roll-Call]

Whole film, no subs

Ani Ne Proydut (1965) [They will not pass]

Kanikuly Bonifatsiya (1965) [Boniface’s Vacation] Animation

Giperboloid Inzhenera Garina (1965) [The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin] Science-Fiction film

Po Tonkomu l’du (1966) [On Thin Ice]

Seraya Bolezn’  (1966) [Grey Sickness]

Krepkiy Oreshek (1967) [A hard nut to crack]

Tatyanin Den’ (1967) [Tatyana’s Day]

Fokusnik (1967) [The Conjurer]

Beg Inokhodsta (1968) [Goodbye, Gulsary!]

Vinni Pukh (1969) [Winnie the Pooh] Animation

Byl’-Nebylitsa (1970) [True Story-Fiction] Animation

Vinni Pukh Idyot v Gosti (1971) [Winnie the Pooh goes visiting] Animation

Za Vsyo v Otvete (1972) [Responsible for Everything]

Vinni Pukh i Den Zabot (1972) [Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day] Animation

Neylon 100% (1973) [100% Nylon] Comedy

Tovarisch General (1973) [Comrade General]

Czarevich Prosha (1974) [Tsarevich Prosha]

Whole film (no subs)

Moy Dom, Teatre (1975) [My House, the Theatre]

Afonya (1975) Comedy - one of the highest-grossing films in Soviet History

Full film (no subs)

Chestnoe Volshebnoe (1975) [Upright Magic]

Kak Ivanushka-durachok za Chudom Khodil (1977) [How Ivan the fool travelled in search of a wonder]

Whole film (No subs)

Marka Strany Gondelupy (1977) Family film

Solovey (1979) [The Nightingale] Musical based around the Hans Christian Andersen story

Tegeran-43 (1981) [Assassination Attempt] Action film

Oslinaya Shkura (1982) [Donkey’s Hide] Family Comedy/Fantasy

Full film (No subs)

O Strannostyakh Lyubvi (1983) [About Oddities of Love] Romantic Comedy

I Vot Prishyol Bumbo (1984) [And along came Bumbo!] Family

Full film (no subs)

Lev i Byk (1984) [Lion and Bull] Animation

Skazka pro Vlyublyonnogo Malyara (1987) [The Tale of the Painter in Love]

Otche Nash (1989) [Our Father in Heaven] Drama

Malenkiy Chelovek v Bolshoy Voyne (1989) [Little Man in the Great War]

IMDB Weinberg list
Claude Torres's Weinberg Filmography